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WIS, WWA | Some appreciation, from me to you

This week, I’ve been reminded again of something I appreciate about you guys: there are so many of you that consistently show up and interact in the comments, talking to me and also to each other.

Hungry Harvest mangoes

As I look back on my posts, I see comment counts in the dozens and dozens on most posts, and this is a really unusual thing to see on a blog in 2020. So, I wanted to say that I really appreciate you guys!

Some bloggers I’ve talked to really have no idea who is reading their blogs (people just read and leave without writing a comment), and I imagine that might feel like just throwing information out into the void.

I’d kind of hate that.

Hungry Harvest mangoes

But you all are so good at showing up and chatting, I feel like I really do know a lot of you, and I always look forward to hearing your input in discussions.

I feel so grateful for you all, and I just wanted you to know. 🙂

Alrighty! On to grocery shopping and food.

What I Spent

I spent $157 at the grocery store, plus $25 on my Hungry Harvest box.

I had $750 budgeted for January, a five week month, so I have $196 left to spend next week.

So, unless we eat lobster and steak all next week, I should finish January under budget.

January Grocery Spending ($150/week budget)

Week 1: $33

Week 2: $199

Week 3: $140

Week 4: $182

What We Ate


The girls fended for themselves. I think some of them may have mainly eaten hot-from-the-oven squash rolls, honestly.*

squash yeast rolls

Color not enhanced. Squash is just that yellow!

And Mr. FG and I went out for a pizza date night. We both legitimately wanted pizza, so this wasn’t a budgetary decision…but pizza makes it very easy for us to stay in our $20/week date night budget.

*I do not have the squash roll recipe posted, but at least one of you has asked for it. So, I will make them again, taking notes on exactly what I did this time, and I’ll post the recipe.


We had chicken sausages on hot dog buns, plus some kind of produce that I can’t remember.

By the way: if you butter the hot dog buns and toast them in a hot skillet for a few minutes, it really elevates the whole experience. Highly recommend!


I tried Pioneer Woman’s orange chicken recipe, and I don’t know what went wrong, but the chicken wasn’t brown and crispy, even with the double frying.

Pioneer Woman orange chicken

looks crispy in the photo; was not crispy IRL, even before adding the sauce!

I am mystified by this because I have successfully made fried shrimp on many a kid’s birthday here, and it’s always been brown and crispy.

(Honestly, I usually skip the second fry when I make fried shrimp, and it’s STILL crispier than this was.)


We liked her sauce, and I will probably try this again, using the fried shrimp batter that has been my standby.


Some dairy products really seem to be bothering Sonia (Luckily cream and butter do not bother her. Phew!), which means I have been busy trying to find new dinner recipes that do not rely on dairy.

(Was it not enough to be dealing with a shellfish allergy and all of Sonia’s nut and raw produce allergies? Oy. At least she is not sensitive to gluten or to eggs, and I am grateful for that. She’d really have a rough time then!)

Anyway, I tried a pork tinga recipe from a library ATK book. It’s basically slow cooked pork butt and rice in a chipotle-seasoned broth. 

ATK pork tinga

We topped ours with sour cream (except for Sonia), and everyone thought it was tasty.


I tried a recipe from the latest Cook’s Country magazine for pork stroganoff with pancetta. This too received a thumbs up from the family, so yay!

Pork stroganoff

The sauce is really flavorful even before you add the sour cream, so I just dished up a portion for Sonia before I added the sour cream for everyone else.

Brief sidebar: I cannot recommend the Cook’s Country magazine enough. I consistently find good dinner recipes from those magazines, which makes the subscription price completely worth it to me.

(I pay for my own subscription, just to be clear!)

Cooks-Country magazine

It’s less than $25/year, which means that even if you found two good recipes that helped you avoid takeout, the magazine would more than pay for itself.


I made fish cake sandwiches (this fish cake recipe, on toasted buns, topped with tartar sauce), and we ate those with raw veggies.


I’m planning to make fried mush, chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes, bacon, and Orange Julius.

orange julius in blender

What did you have for dinner this week?

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Cathy in NJ

Monday 27th of January 2020


I love this blog and visit almost daily. I also love to read the kindhearted and smart comments. It has been many times that you or one of the Commenters pointed me to a solution to a problem. A grateful thank you to all.

I have allergies to dairy too. My current goto is Oat milk. I think I wore out my welcome with Soy when I used it so much after the dairy allergy emerged. Fresh peaches are a problem also but cook them and all is well. Dairy that is cooked into a bread is ok, guess 350 degrees for an hour changes the structure.


Monday 27th of January 2020

Kindhearted...yes, that's a good way to describe how the comments section feels here. So great.

Sonia can eat peaches if they're cooked too. So peach cobbler is fine, but a raw peach is now. Peaches are so good raw, I feel terrible for her that she can't have them.


Sunday 26th of January 2020

I love your blog so much and I also love the comments section! I don't comment much but I read every post. :) I'm the one who bought the crocheted solar system from you a couple of years ago -- I still have it proudly displayed in my bedroom and love every piece. I love that it was handmade and that I was the one who was lucky enough to purchase it! <3


Monday 27th of January 2020

Oh, it's so lovely to hear from you...I'll tell Sonia that you are still loving the solar system. Yay!

Michelle H

Sunday 26th of January 2020

Totally forgot to say - thank you for this blog! It's upbeat, positive while still keeping it real, and I enjoy your frugalness, photo skills, and recipes. Your crustless pumpkin pie is a big hit at my house! You and Katy at The Nonconsumer Advocate are the only blogs I follow nowadays, and if I remember correctly your blog is the one that led me to hers.

Michelle H

Sunday 26th of January 2020

In January I always try to limit grocery purchases to loss leaders, milk, bread and produce, and work my way through the stockpile in my freezer and pantry.

Friday night was chili and skillet cornbread, featuring hamburger from the freezer, canned beans, tomatoes and sauce that were 19 cents on sale last month. Have enough leftover chili for my lunch for the next few days.

Last night's dinner was bacon, eggs and canned biscuits - dinner for 5 for $1.29! (Bacon .44 cents after sale and coupon, biscuits .66 after sale and coupon, dozen eggs .29, and still have 4 left)

Tonight's dinner is toasted sandwiches to use up a slightly stale loaf of bread that got lost after getting put away in the wrong cabinet, lunch meat picked up for $1.99 a pound on sale yesterday, and rather than buying sliced cheese I'm slicing up an 8 oz brick of swiss picked up for .69 a few weeks ago.

Tomorrow's breakfast will be banana bread to use up frozen brown bananas, and smoothies to use up some fresh spinach that's beginning to look tired, finish off a partial bag of frozen fruit, and a low sugar yogurt I got free that no one likes.

I think Monday's dinner will be spaghetti using more freezer hamburger, jarred sauce that was .49 after sale and coupon, free pasta, and a 19 cent can of tomatoes. Some kind of veg, and canned fruit.

Alice Steiniger

Saturday 25th of January 2020

I love your posts.

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